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How long with the same piano teacher?
#3001127 07/10/20 02:13 PM
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I recently meet a piano teacher that told me she has a 74 year old student that has been taking piano lessons from her for 34 years! The student loves coming to lessons. My word, that's a long time. Got me to thinking how long you should stay with the same teacher? Should you change after a few years? How long have you stayed with the same teacher? I've been with mine for 3 1/2 years now.

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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001160 07/10/20 02:59 PM
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Wow! Marriages don’t last that long. They must have a very good working relationship. Probably have since become friendship as well.

I’ve been with my teacher for just over a year now. I think sometimes relationships stop working and at that moment it’s time to change. It’s hard to say when that might be since every relationship is different.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001177 07/10/20 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by PatG
How long have you stayed with the same teacher? I've been with mine for 3 1/2 years now.
As long as your teacher and you are still working well together, and you haven't outgrown her, you should stay together indefinitely whistle.

For example, Evgeny Kissin remained with the same teacher ever since he was six (and his teacher and his mother accompanied him to every concert even when he was well into adulthood), and look where he is now....

Some teachers are only able to teach students to a certain level, and then they will gracefully bow out and allow someone else to take over. Many teachers who teach beginners are not competent (or don't consider themselves competent) to teach to super-advanced level, and of course, many - probably most - teachers who specialize in teaching advanced students won't touch beginners.

I had four teachers over the course of ten years, and each time, I changed only because I had to: my first teacher (who was only nineteen, but already had a teaching diploma) left after a year to further her piano studies abroad; I myself subsequently left home to move to a country 20,000 miles away (as the crow doesn't fly) where I attended a new high school, and therefore, had a new teacher who only spoke in a strange language (English smirk ); and when I went to university, I again had to have a new teacher, because I'd outgrown my last one, who only taught students to Grade 8 ABRSM and only at that high school. My last teacher, a concert pianist, only taught advanced students.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001184 07/10/20 03:38 PM
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I'll stay as long as my teacher will have me!


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001211 07/10/20 04:20 PM
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36 months is the longest I've studied with one teacher. With other teachers it's ranged from 2 months to 24 months.

I've changed teachers because I've re-located several times in my life. If I had stayed put, I would have stayed with my first teacher for decades. Ditto for my other teachers. I've never had a bad teacher.

Currently my teacher is not giving lessons due to the pandemic. She doesn't do modern technology. May be 2021 before I have another lesson.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001228 07/10/20 04:57 PM
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Five years. I'd had one year with another teacher before switching to her. She doesn't generally teach beginners (which I still was), but took me anyway. There will most definitely be no problem with me ever exceeding her ability to teach me.

I think if you and your teacher are on the same wavelength and you're still learning, there's no good reason to change.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
Stubbie #3001248 07/10/20 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
... There will most definitely be no problem with me ever exceeding her ability to teach me...

Certainly true in my case as well.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001331 07/10/20 10:48 PM
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I have had my present teacher for 9 years. I was lucky to find a teacher who was a good fit when I returned to piano After not having touched a piano in 40 years and not having lessons since college. He is capable of teaching as far as I will get. In fact the last couple of years the arthritis in my right hand has become so bad that I cannot play things I could 3 to 4 years ago. I am grateful I can still play and the doctor said playing the piano is the best thing I can do for it.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
zillybug #3001336 07/10/20 11:15 PM
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zillybug - so sorry about your arthritis. That is a bummer, but at least you can still play and as your doctor said its good therapy. I'm sure with the years that you have had, you can play lots of pieces for the pure enjoyment of it. Doesn't have to be real challenging ones. Just enjoy what you can do!

Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001349 07/11/20 12:23 AM
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For another perspective, I'll answer this as a studio piano teacher, most of whose students are adult beginners or intermediates. When you find a good fit with a piano teacher, you want to stay with them through thick and thin, more or less forever. The teacher quite likely feels the same way. Most of my students have been with me for at least a few years, and plenty have been with me more than a decade. That's quite special and very gratifying, and we develop quite a bond. It's friendship in most cases, even though it's tied to the piano, and I get paid.

But to argue differently, I will also suggest that after three to five years as someone's piano student, it's not a bad idea to try someone new. Scary, but not bad. Sad, but not bad. No one piano teacher can bring everything musical and pianistic to any one student. I had a whole fleet of piano teachers over the years, and I learned something from each of them.

An alternative, if you don't want to leave your present teacher, is to head off in the summers to a piano workshop for adults, to get a different point of view. With the present virus, of course, these residential programs are all on hold. I hope they return.

Another more controversial idea is to have two piano teachers simultaneously, perhaps seeing each one every 2 weeks, in alternation. It's tricky to pull off, and you might have to do it on the sly, but I think it has value. (Many piano teachers are probably not cool with this, but I would be.)

Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001351 07/11/20 12:32 AM
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I spent about eighteen months with each of my first two teachers. In both cases I felt I wasn't learning anything from them, and that my lessons were little more than simple hand holding. However, my main complaint, which I can see clearer as I look back, was a lack of teaching the basics, which led to my unease.

I have been with my third teacher for four and half years, and I don't feel any urge to change. My goal is to continue with lessons to grade 8, three years away I hope. Past that I haven't given any thought about what I might be doing.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
Peter K. Mose #3001364 07/11/20 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
For another perspective, I'll answer this as a studio piano teacher, most of whose students are adult beginners or intermediates. When you find a good fit with a piano teacher, you want to stay with them through thick and thin, more or less forever. The teacher quite likely feels the same way. Most of my students have been with me for at least a few years, and plenty have been with me more than a decade. That's quite special and very gratifying, and we develop quite a bond. It's friendship in most cases, even though it's tied to the piano, and I get paid.



..... Another more controversial idea is to have two piano teachers simultaneously, perhaps seeing each one every 2 weeks, in alternation. It's tricky to pull off, and you might have to do it on the sly, but I think it has value. (Many piano teachers are probably not cool with this, but I would be.)


Doesn’t staying with a teacher partially depend on mutual trust? If so, taking from a second teacher ‘on the sly’ has the very real potential of destroying that trust and being dropped by your primary teacher.


It is not easy to have two teachers from the perspective of the student, as each teacher will have different perspectives re the music. there will always be differences even if both are excellent teachers. The first year I attended piano camp, I felt strain over this but learned to accept it and also started coming home and discussing the instructions from piano camp. You can’t do this if you are keeping the second teacher a secret.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001370 07/11/20 03:50 AM
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I think if you are satisfied with your progress and you feel comfortable with your teacher, there is no need to change teacher.

Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001376 07/11/20 04:52 AM
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I'd say that if anyone is going to have two teachers at the same time (which in my book is a Very Bad Idea), do not learn the same rep from both of them, whether or not they know of each other's existence. If they're any good, they're going to have different ideas on how any specific piece should be played - not just dynamics, shaping, articulation but also overall conception and character.

Just as we admire different concert pianists - and some of us have diametrically opposite views of certain pianists with strong personalities in their playing - it's obvious that two different teachers won't just teach in different ways, they'll also teach different things in the same pieces. Clashing viewpoints in the same piece for the student only cause confusion, and cast doubt in his mind about the abilities of his teachers. Once the student starts to lose trust in his teachers' competence, all is lost.

When I was a student, once I was sufficiently technically and musically competent (sometime in my third year), I was learning many pieces on my own, of my own choosing (with no regard for their difficulty level). I never asked my teacher for help with them, because I chose to learn them for myself and I had my own ideas on what I wanted to do with them - and I wanted to play them my own way, untainted by seeds of doubt cast on my ideas by someone else, even if she knew a lot more than I did.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001388 07/11/20 05:43 AM
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11th year with my first and only teacher.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001433 07/11/20 10:35 AM
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I will stay with my teacher unless she moves far away, which can happen. As for having different teachers, she encourages me to attend this summer camp where she also teaches. Basically the teachers bring their students and exchange them with colleagues. I try not to make my teacher look bad :-)

Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001467 07/11/20 11:53 AM
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If I had the extra money and extra time, I would consider having a jazz piano teacher alongside a classical piano teacher. I would consider that to be “ok” because I would be learning something totally different from either of them.


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Re: How long with the same piano teacher?
PatG #3001570 07/11/20 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by PatG
How long have you stayed with the same teacher?
24.5 months, so far.


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